last update   12/10/17

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Mills Geological

High-quality, identified petrified wood and plant fossils from around the globe

Our Featured Specimen

Just in time for the holidays – new wood here today.

It amazes us that it will soon be time to head to Quartzsite and Tucson!

(Sign of age we are sure.)

Jim Mills

and Beth Myers

Live Oak   (Quercus sp.)

Juntura Formation, Pliocene

Stinking Water Mountain, near Burns, Harney County, Oregon

** Polished on both sides! This nice slab is in the size range that we like to recommend to collectors who want to save room for a growing collection or who want the visual punch that a classic small specimen provides.  Stinking Water Mountain has been a notable collecting spot for petrified wood enthusiasts for over 75 years -- but it still can produce an occasional limb or log for the careful searcher.  This nice little round has good oak structure and the classic luminous golden color for which Stinking Water is known.  The lapidary has cleverly polished both sides of this specimen so you can enjoy it and display it with either side facing out, a bonus, and something that most of would want on all of our slabs!

3” diameter on polished faces; 3/8” thick slab   $44

Oak   (Quercus sp.)

Vaqueros Formation   Miocene

Santa Barbara Canyon, near New Cuyama, California

** Unusual location! This fantastic slab of oak has terrific patterning and real visual punch. We have handled a few slabs from this formation in the past but never any oaks.  So. we were very pleased to acquire this.  Santa Barbara Canyon is a rather obscure locality.  Wood from this area has become quite scarce on the market and full rounds have always been even more scarce from there -- even before overcollecting depleted the sites.  New Cuyama comes from the Chumash Indian name for "clams," and is located in far northeastern Santa Barbara County, California. Well-named because indeed the area contains considerable deposits of fossil clams in marine strata which interfinger with terrestrial deposits, with only occasional finds of petrified wood.  These interfingering deposits are ancient seashore environments which changed back and forth from marine to terrestrial as sea levels changed and tectonic forces started pushing up land mass at the point where the Pacific Plate is being subducted under the North American Plate.  Interesting geology, interesting fossils, interesting etymology and fantasatic aesthetics all wrapped up in a single specimen of handsome petrified wood from a now obscure locality.  Show me a better one if you can!

9” x 8” diameter on polished face; 1/2” thick slab    $350

(Immediately qualifies for our 10% discount on orders totaling $200 or more)

Maple Root Section (Acer sp.)

Eocene, Bridger Formation

Eden Valley, Wyoming

** We like roots, we like forks, and we love forked roots.  Here is a wonderful forked root section of maple from Eden Valley, Wyoming.  While we often concentrate on polished identified specimens, there are times when a piece of petrified wood has such fantastic woodlike character that we simply don't think it could be improved upon by polishing.  This is one of those times. Check out the fantastic overall wood-like character of this one!  Note the fork of this root into another soon-to-be major root and notice all of the "knots" which are the traces of rootlets (there are more than a dozen!) along the entire length of this section. We think that the best displays we see are those that incorporate all natural specimens along with polished limbs and polished slabs.  This one would definitely add interest to your display.  Nothing would be gained by cutting off an end to polish it (a procedure which would result in a shorter specimen).  The all-natural ends are crisp and clean enough with a good display of the wood anatomy for us to get an identification of this piece.  Fabulous little forked limb!

1” diameter in cross section; 4” long   $27

Primitive Conifer   (Araucarioxylon)

Chinle Formation, Triassic

Northern Arizona

** You have to admit that this is one of the prettiest fungal pockets to be found in wood.  Simply amazing color in this piece -- with the contrasting rusty orange and gray patterning, set off by a colorful and that large fungal patch at the 2:00 position. This one has it all when it comes to color, aesthetics AND a reasonable size for shipping and display.  We call this the “Goldilocks” size, not too little, not too big. Unusually good color, even for Arizona slabs!

5.5” x 4.5” on the polished face; 3/8” thick slab  $75

Unidentified limb section (Incertae sedis) with fungus

Golden Valley Formation Eocene

Cedar Canyon, near Medora, North Dakota

** This specimen comes from private ranchlands in the far western edge of North Dakota out of the same Golden Valley Formation that outcrops with fossil wood in the nearby Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  Of course the National Park preserves the fossil forest with hundreds of very large tree trunks for future generations to enjoy.  It is another example of localities where small rounds are very scarce and the more common large rounds tend to be measured in feet, not inches. So we were quite pleased to obtain material with a center pith that is appropriately-sized for display cabinets and drawers.  This specimen has washed down many miles from the origin within the National Park and its travel history is evidenced by the smooth, water polished exterior surface of the limb – (so nicely water worn that it is actually pleasing to touch and hold in the hand)! The vast majority of the wood in the Golden Valley Formation is Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia sp.) but this limb was so attacked by fungal activity that we are not able to confirm it too is metasequoia since there were other species growing alongside the big trees. So, while we cannot say for certain that this is a Dawn Redwood, we can say for certain that it is a handsome limb with an attractive polished face and very nice water worn wood grain character along the exterior.

1.5” diameter on polished face; 5” long   $35

Laurel (Umbellularia sp.)

Bridger Formation, Eocene

Eden Valley, Wyoming

** A handsome “stand-up” style specimen (cut parallel on both ends and polished on one end) that, as the name implies, is easy to display “standing up.”  The Lauraceae family is exceptionally large with 45 genera and over 2000 species and those are just the ones living in the world today!  The wood anatomy of the laurels tends to be very similar among all of the genera and species and as a result, paleobotanists have erected the form genera Laurinoxylon for woods which share the characteristics of wood anatomy with the family, but which cannot be assigned to one of the many existing genera based only upon the wood anatomy. There are several clues to notice about the wood anatomy in our photomicrograph to the right. The growth rings are quite indistinct. Most laurels are broadleaf evergreen trees that do not lose their leaves or interrupt their growth.  The few indistinct ringlike lines seen in this specimen are the product of a temporary climate change such as a drought or prolonged cold spell.  A close look shows that there is very little difference in size or density of vessels near these indistinct rings.  One of the most visible characteristicws of the Lauraceae Family is the presence of vasicentric parenchyma.  In more common terms, this means a thin white halo surrounding almost every vessel you see.  That halo is composed of thin walled parenchyma cells whose main function in wood is to repair wound damage. Also note that the vessels are all diffuse (evenly spaced throughout the growth) and similarly sized (in the case of this specimen they are in the range of 50 to 100 microns). All in all, this is a specimen that exhibits good anatomy at the same time it is handsome.

2.75” x 1.75” on the polished face; Stand-up style 3.5” tall    $29